Local chiropractor Dennis Nobbe, a rotund, ruddy-faced Scientologist allegedly forced employees to scream at ashtrays, perform lengthy staring contests, and convert to his church.
Now, the man who says he "used L. Ron Hubbard Technology to build the largest chiropractic office in all of South Florida." is backtracking. After former employees filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Nobbe's Dynamic Medical Services signed a consent decree agreeing to pay $170,000 and to stop dictating employees' religious beliefs.
The firm issued the following written statement: "We deny all of the allegations brought against Dynamic Medical in the EEOC case. However, given the expense to litigate these types of things, we made a business decision to try and resolve it."
Nobbe delivered seminars has been a member of the controversial religion for decades and has achieved one of its highest designations. He's been awarded something called the "Silver Humanitarian" status, and the church has designated him an "Operating Thetan V," which means he holds power over "life, thought, matter, energy, space, time."
Nobbe first came to the church through his wife, he says on his personal Scientology website.
His wife was inculcated with the religion almost from birth. "My mother became a Scientologist when I was five years old," Chris Nobbe, who's today an Operating Thetan VIII, says on her personal website. "I did the Communication Course when I was seven, and have never been the same."
"We apply Scientology principles in our work, our family life -- all aspects of our life," Dennis Nobble says of their marriage. "I've applied L. Ron Hubbard's business technology to my practice and immediately triple my income."
Nobbe has indeed done well for himself. Today, he lives in a $1.5 million mansion on a 20,000-square-foot lot on Vista Mar Street in Coral Gables, property records show.
Former employees, however, say his surge in income has come at a cost. Since 2009, Nobbe has been sued eight times in federal court over unpaid wages. His company, Dynamic Medical Services in South Miami and Hialeah "willfully and intentionally refused to pay [employees Dania Gomez and Maikel Ruz] overtime wages and straight wages." (That suit, as well as the others, were dismissed or settled out of court.)
But as his riches piled higher, so did Nobbe's clout in the local Scientology church.
"Almost the whole time I knew him, I was in the bubble, and his reputation in the organization was so large because he'd donated so much money," an anonymous source recently told Scientology scribe Tony Ortega. "He was getting all kinds of pats on the back. For buying books, and helping with renovations. And then the money he was making, coming from the dentists and chiropractors he was bringing in."
If Nobbe and his wife's own writings are to be believed, the act of Scientology has made them supremely happy. "People have often asked how I've always maintained a sort of happiness," Chris Nobbe writes. "[It's] 'not problematic.' I tell them it's because I study Scientology. No other group has the answers, technology and support that Scientology has. No other. I tell anyone who's life is not the way they want it to be -- any aspect -- to find out about Scientology!!"
When the couple allegedly tried to do this with Nobbe's workers, however, it didn't go so well. Former workers charge that Nobbe forced them to read Hubbards, The Way to Happiness and other Dianetics: Original Thesis and endure something called "Electropsychometer" treatment.
Nobbe told his workers he wanted them to be "purified," and when employees resisted, they were fired, says the federal lawsuit, which was settled out of court and dismissed earlier this week.
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"Never let it be said of you that you lived an amateur life," Nobbe says, quoting Hubbard.
If you know more, send your story tip to author, Terrence McCoy.